Former soldier poses to make point

May 7, 2008 4:19:41 PM PDT
A former National Guard member from our area is baring it all in "Playgirl Magazine." He says he's doing it because his freedoms were taken away from him while he was serving his country. But not everyone agrees with how he's trying to get his message across.

Eyewitness News reporter Emily Smith has more.

Former Army Specialist Stewart Zamudio spent six years as a National Guardsman. Held in such high esteem, he even appeared in a TV commercial from Ground Zero for the military. But it was at that same time when when he says he started to feel he didn't belong.

"I think that there is a restriction on what you shouldn't say and what you should do and shouldn't do and how you should express yourself," he said. "I mean, you're not supposed to criticize your boss...And I did."

So Zamudio decided not to re-sign with the Army, and take his opinions to "Playgirl." He says the magazine allowed some uninhibited photos help drive his voice.

At first, he's wearing his official Guardsman uniform. Then, he bares it all with the American flag draped over his shoulders.

"I think it's gotten too political, the war and everything," he said. "And we just have to focus. I want to change the meaning of what the American flag is to the people."

Zamudio says he also got naked to show his disgust for the Patriot Act, which he says strips away Americans' freedoms.

In "Playgirl," Zamudio is considered one of the sexiest Guardsmen ever. And he's even teased on the front page of this month's issue.

But to Army veteran Craig Northacker, the photos are distasteful and even insulting to the military as a whole.

"It's a dishonor to everybody else who serves," he said. "We don't need to do that that. We don't need to look like the sorry character he's portrayed."

"I'm going to do what it takes send out my message and to let people know how I feel," Zamudio said.

Like it or not, the magazine is on sale now. Zamudio says he was paid $1,000 to do the shoot. He plans to donate that money to a veteran, who he feels needs it for healthcare.